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Was the Concorde Agreement bad for F1?


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#1 MPea3

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 01:37

I think many in the TNF are in agreement that the sport lacks something it used to. I was wondering how much some of you feel the Concorde Agreement and the Constructors Championship has hurt the sport. It seems to me that with the teams being paid according to their total points, teams are racing for points rather than drivers racing for wins. The comment from a driver after a race that he slowed his pace, or didn't attempt a pass, so as to secure the points seems too common these days.

Comments?

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#2 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 01:54

Just a point of reference, I am curious to know why you bind together the Concorde Agreement and the Constructors Championship. There's a good 30 or 40 years separating the inception of each.

Moreover, the Concorde Agreement is about the distribution of money, settling the commercial aspects of Formula One. None of these aspects were invented with the CA. They were simply put on paper in a way that allowed all sides - the governing body, the commercial rights holder and the teams - to work together fairly harmoniously (at least for quite a while, and certainly more harmoniously than before).

I therefore think there are two completely and wholy separate issues here. Both are valid but neither are tied to the other.

As for the Constructors Championship: the scenario you describe, of "The comment from a driver after a race that he slowed his pace, or didn't attempt a pass, so as to secure the points seems too common these days" - has little to nothing to do with the Constructors Championship and much more to do with the drivers' title; certainly more so since the existing points distro was introduced last year.

So can you perhaps give me more focus on what aspects exactly you are looking at analysing? Because there's a little bit of everything in your post and not a lot of something ;)

#3 MPea3

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:08

Fair enough, maybe I can tie it together, or maybe I can be shown that I'm wrong. Nice to see you lurking in here by the way, Bira.

I understand that the Concorde Agreement is not a pulic document, but am I wrong in thinking that it is accepted that it uses the Constructors Championship as a basis for distributing money? It also seems to me that the slow down and collect points scenario doesn't just show itself with those drivers (or teams) in the running for the WDC. Am I wrong that drivers are sometimes clearly attempting to gain safe points for the team?

Also, did the WCC begin at the same time as the WDC, or if not when?

#4 Buford

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:11

Bira. Has anybody ever written a book on how one owner of one F1 team, and not even the most successful and powerful one, somehow ended up owning all of F1??? And why the powerful and compeitive egos in the sport let him get away with it willingly and then had to kiss his butt from then on? That would be a fascinating read.

If it hasn't be written, maybe you should write it. I know there is no money in racing books so that is why I have never written one. But that one might make some money unless he made a deal where he would own that too.

#5 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:28

Originally posted by MPea3
Fair enough, maybe I can tie it together, or maybe I can be shown that I'm wrong. Nice to see you lurking in here by the way, Bira.

I understand that the Concorde Agreement is not a pulic document, but am I wrong in thinking that it is accepted that it uses the Constructors Championship as a basis for distributing money? It also seems to me that the slow down and collect points scenario doesn't just show itself with those drivers (or teams) in the running for the WDC. Am I wrong that drivers are sometimes clearly attempting to gain safe points for the team?

Also, did the WCC begin at the same time as the WDC, or if not when?


The Concorde Agreement uses a secret formula - not so secret nowadays actually, given that parts of it were revealed last year both in the Jordan Vs Vodafone court case as well as in various press briefings around the issue of the Arrows money. However, the Constructors Championship, while used as part of the formula, is in fact not the major factor in how the money is distributed. There's the issue of number of years in the sport, the issue of past 2-3 years' performance, etc.

I am not 100% sure, but I believe the CC was always used for issues such as distribution of garages and paddock space/location. In any event, it's not how many points you got that makes a difference, really, but where you end up. There is a bonus for winning the CC and there's a million or two difference between each placing in the CC. But if you end up 3rd with 70 points or 50 points doesn't make a difference from what I know.

I honestly think you're barking up the wrong tree in this instance. I have a lot of thoughts about how the CA has been bad for the sport, but none of it has anything to do with drivers slowing down at the end of a race to make do with 8 points rather than 10.

#6 MPea3

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:34

I had no idea. With the way Jordan spoke after Sato's run in Japan a couple of years ago, and with how people spoke concerning the battle for 5th in the WCC last year, I had assumed each and every point was of extreme importance financially.

#7 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:35

Originally posted by Buford
Bira. Has anybody ever written a book on how one owner of one F1 team, and not even the most successful and powerful one, somehow ended up owning all of F1??? And why the powerful and compeitive egos in the sport let him get away with it willingly and then had to kiss his butt from then on? That would be a fascinating read.

If it hasn't be written, maybe you should write it. I know there is no money in racing books so that is why I have never written one. But that one might make some money unless he made a deal where he would own that too.


There's Terry Lovell's book "Bernie's Game" - which I've not read myself but should shed some light on the topic.

There's Timothy Collings's book "The Piranha Club" - which touches on this topic as well.

There's Alan Henry's latest book, whose name escapes me, that should cover that as well.

And there's The Economist's controversial attempt at understanding Bernie's stronghold on F1 in their July 2000 project "The Secret Finances of Formula One" (which can be read on their website for a 1-article fee of $2.95).

As for me writing this? I have the attention span of a hamster. I doubt I'd last a research that spans 74 years ;)

#8 Buford

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:36

OK thanks.

#9 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:41

Originally posted by MPea3
I had no idea. With the way Jordan spoke after Sato's run in Japan a couple of years ago, and with how people spoke concerning the battle for 5th in the WCC last year, I had assumed each and every point was of extreme importance financially.


Jordan said Sato's two points were worth a couple of million dollars. The reason is because it sprung Jordan from 8th place in the WCC to 6th. So that actually gives you an idea how much two positions in the WCC are worth... and that's out of about 15 million dollar that Jordan received that year.

Here's the sums of money given to the teams for 2003 based on the Concorde Agreement (source: BusinessF1) :

Ferrari - $54m
Williams - $37.8m
McLaren - $36m
Renault - $32.4m
BAR - $30.6m
Sauber - $27m
Toyota - $25.2m
Jaguar - $25.2m
Jordan - $25m
Minardi - $19.8m

#10 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 02:47

Originally posted by MPea3
Also, did the WCC begin at the same time as the WDC, or if not when?


Sorry, I forgot to answer this one. No, the WDC began in 1950 whereas the WCC - or the manufacturers' championship as it was called - began in 1958 (with Vanwall as the first winner).

#11 David Birchall

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 03:30

Buford, I really would reccomend the "Economist" article. It put it in perspective for me.
But, as regards Bernie, It really isn't healthy is it?

#12 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 04:01

Originally posted by Buford
Bira. Has anybody ever written a book on how one owner of one F1 team, and not even the most successful and powerful one, somehow ended up owning all of F1??? And why the powerful and compeitive egos in the sport let him get away with it willingly and then had to kiss his butt from then on? That would be a fascinating read.

Buford, I would highly endorse Bira's recommendation for "Bernie's Game" that is covered on TNF on various threads.

I have read it, and it is definitely the book that you are looking for.

As to the Concorde Agreement, IMO there is a mixed result. It certainly provided a much needed and highly improved measure of stability to the rules in the wake of the FISA/FOCA wars. Gradually, with the alliance of Mosely and Ecclestone, this benefit has been in decline as of late however.

The aspect of the CA that I still like is that unanimous consent is still required for many of the major governing aspects of the sport, which provides some measure of equality to the smaller teams against the top tier. While perhaps not to the taste of all, I rather like that continuing benefit.

#13 bira

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 04:38

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
Gradually, with the alliance of Mosely and Ecclestone, this benefit has been in decline as of late however.


I disagree with you that it's the alliance of Mosley and Ecclestone that has eroded the benefit of the CA. In fact, there's no evidence to support this supposition, seeing as Mosley and Ecclestone have been partners in crime, so to speak, from before the CA was in place.

What has, first and foremost, eroded the harmony in place was Bernie Ecclestone's decision to sell what ammounted to 75% of the holding company to external companies. In the words of Luca di Montezemolo circa September 2001, as long as it was Bernie making the money the teams could live with the uneven distribution. But once it has become open to external bodies whom they felt have done nothing for the sport, then they didn't like the distribution one bit. If Bernie had never gone ahead with the sale, you wouldn't have seen this discord - which culminated in a threat of a breakaway series - of the past 5 years.

#14 RTH

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 08:34

Originally posted by MPea3
I think many in the TNF are in agreement that the sport lacks something it used to. I was wondering how much some of you feel the Concorde Agreement and the Constructors Championship has hurt the sport.

Comments?


I know you are being polite and even handed, - for me this has to be a considerable understatement.

Surely any international sport , is ,or should be owned by its governing body, which should be completely independent of its competitors and make all the decisions on rules in the long term interests of the health and survival of the sport and no individual competitor should be allowed to veto a rule change that does not suit them to the detriment of the sport or other participants.

In short its unwise to let the lunatics take over the asylum.

I think what has happened progressively over the last quarter century has made a handfull of men obscenely rich and done enormous damage to a much loved sport for tens of millions, in so many ways its a shadow of its former self, and a closed shop.

#15 bobbo

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 12:20

Bira & everyone else:

Thanks for some answers, but for me, I would like to know what actually led up to the Concorde Agreement. Is it a direct result of the FOCA/FISA/FIA wars of the '70s? Balestere's reign? Safety issues? Prequalifying? Pre-Prequalifying? Control issues? I had gotten away from F1 for a few years and really missed some of what led up to the CA.

Thanks to all!

Bobbo

#16 Don Capps

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 14:58

I have to say that trying to provide a coherent, rational analysis of the Concorde Agreement, the events that preceded its development, its origin, its evolution, its current status, and the factors in F1 that it has influenced since it came into being might take a paragraph or two. I must also say that there is a distinct dearth of scholarly attention that has been directed at topics such as this one. Certainly, there are some books struggling into being that, decades later, are finally beginning to see the light of day which touch upon this topic. There is still much work to be done on the wizardry behind the curtain.

A short answer on my part is this: the legacy of the Concorde Agreement is a mixed one. It provided a basis for putting F1 on the track and providing at least some interim solutions to the fundamental issues of commercial and adminstrative control of the series. However, after Balestre was removed from the scene and the roles of Ecclestone and Mosley changed, the role and importance of the Concorde Agreement was altered by this and other turns of events. While the original Concorde Agreement was an effective instrument in avoiding the escalation of civil strife from becoming civil war, once external forces began to gain control of the commercial interests, the issues that the Concorde Agreement focused on really didn't exist any more, there were now new or altered ones that were burrs under the saddle.

#17 panzani

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 17:08

Originally posted by RTH
Surely any international sport, is ,or should be owned by its governing body, which should be completely independent of its competitors and make all the decisions on rules in the long term interests of the health and survival of the sport and no individual competitor should be allowed to veto a rule change that does not suit them to the detriment of the sport or other participants.

IMO this one and only paragraph describes very well ALL problems F1 have, ALL reasons that led to them, as well as intrinsically gives the very simple remedy...

No one barely thinks Manchester United or Real Madrid could even argue with Football Association Board rules, whta about vetoing them? But in nowadays F1...

#18 Don Capps

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 18:14

Originally posted by panzani
IMO this one and only paragraph describes very well ALL problems F1 have, ALL reasons that led to them, as well as intrinsically gives the very simple remedy...

No one barely thinks Manchester United or Real Madrid could even argue with Football Association Board rules, whta about vetoing them? But in nowadays F1...


However, for many and various reasons, the governing body of international motor sports, the CSI -- and those succeeding it most notably the FISA and now the WMSC -- was largely a collective body of Blazers. These Blazers were largely clueless as to not only the competitive aspects of racing, but the commercial issues as well. The CSI and the F1CA -- later FOCA -- tangled when the latter had its large, dead ass severely managled by the latter. It was not even a close fight, The Blazers being blown out of the water by the lean, mean, hungry sharks of the F1CA.

Although it is perhaps impossible to exactly pinpoint the time and place where the catalyst of the later developments ignited the fires that still shape F1 today, I would suggest the 1972 GP de Monaco as being the likely candidate for this dubious honor.

#19 smithy

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 00:37

Originally posted by Don Capps

... I would suggest the 1972 GP de Monaco as being the likely candidate for this dubious honor...


Please... do go on. What happened?

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#20 petefenelon

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 11:06

I don't think there's a simple answer to "was the Concorde Agreement bad for F1". (One is reminded of Sellar and Yeatman and "Good Kings and Bad Things").

For the likes of Eddie Jordan, it's fantastic. It means that once you're in the closed shop, you're guaranteed an income, guaranteed a slice of the TV pie, and, these days, regardless of how hopeless his team is, guaranteed to get your cars on the telly to please the sponsors. In days of yore, the only way F1 team owners had yachts was 'cos they owned them beforehand. Without the Concorde Agreement his brand of playboy lifestyle would've been totally impossible - he would've had to actually make something!;)

For the drivers.... probably not so good. The current Concorde Agreement seems to keep F1 a small closed-shop. Hence it's a lot harder to break into F1, and never has mere talent been so small a part of the equation governing who gets a seat or not - in a world where Baumgartner is in F1 while Zonta and Bernoldi are faffing around in a junior formula something is wrong.

For the casual spectator - very good as long as one team isn't doing all the winning. You get a guaranteed field, guaranteed telly, these days, no embarrassing sheds like Life or Andrea Moda around... and it all looks like high-class soap opera.

For the real enthusiast - bloody awful, it's given us a homogenised, pasteurised, sterilised product that repeats 16-18 times a year. Same people, same cars, same stories.

#21 Don Capps

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 12:17

An oft-overlooked aspect of the Concorde Agreement is that it is perhaps the first such document that Ferrari actually became a signatory to, after generally letting the others, F1CA/FOCA, do the dirty work of hammering out the details and then cutting its own deal based on what had been agreed to -- but with a bit more honey to sweeten the deal so as to satisfy the Ferrari ego.

#22 Don Capps

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 12:21

Originally posted by smithy
Please... do go on. What happened?


Try here: http://www.atlasf1.c...an22/capps.html

#23 bira

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 22:27

Originally posted by RTH


I know you are being polite and even handed, - for me this has to be a considerable understatement.

Surely any international sport , is ,or should be owned by its governing body, which should be completely independent of its competitors and make all the decisions on rules in the long term interests of the health and survival of the sport and no individual competitor should be allowed to veto a rule change that does not suit them to the detriment of the sport or other participants.

In short its unwise to let the lunatics take over the asylum.

I think what has happened progressively over the last quarter century has made a handfull of men obscenely rich and done enormous damage to a much loved sport for tens of millions, in so many ways its a shadow of its former self, and a closed shop.


Actually, you have the European Union to partly thank for this anomaly. It was the settlement in the anti-trust case the European Commission held against the FIA that has removed ownership and ANY commercial rights from the FIA's. For some reason, and there are many which can be argued for or against, but for whatever reason, the European Commission felt it was better for the sake of all that the commercial rights were held by Bernie Ecclestone and only Bernie Ecclestone than be held by the FIA. The result of this was the 100 years agreement that provided SLEC with the sole ownership of all commercial rights to the sport.

Strange outcome to an anti-trust case, isn't it? Making SLEC a bonafide monopoly, with the blessing of the commissioner :)

#24 fines

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 15:28

Well, this is distorting the facts to the extreme! The European Union responsible for the commercialisation of F1? :lol:

Because of the Concorde Agreement F1 is no longer a sport, but a business - if it still was a sport the EU would have no business in dealing with it.

#25 condor

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Posted 12 April 2004 - 00:56

fines :) I think there were a lot of different rumours about this - I seem to have read various different accounts of it....and am still none the wiser about what really happenned.

#26 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 03:38

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
As to the Concorde Agreement, IMO there is a mixed result. It certainly provided a much needed and highly improved measure of stability to the rules in the wake of the FISA/FOCA wars. Gradually, with the alliance of Mosely and Ecclestone, this benefit has been in decline as of late however.

Originally posted by bira
I disagree with you that it's the alliance of Mosley and Ecclestone that has eroded the benefit of the CA. In fact, there's no evidence to support this supposition, seeing as Mosley and Ecclestone have been partners in crime, so to speak, from before the CA was in place.

Originally posted by Don Capps
It provided a basis for putting F1 on the track and providing at least some interim solutions to the fundamental issues of commercial and adminstrative control of the series. However, after Balestre was removed from the scene and the roles of Ecclestone and Mosley changed, the role and importance of the Concorde Agreement was altered by this and other turns of events. While the original Concorde Agreement was an effective instrument in avoiding the escalation of civil strife from becoming civil war, once external forces began to gain control of the commercial interests, the issues that the Concorde Agreement focused on really didn't exist any more, there were now new or altered ones that were burrs under the saddle.

As is usually the case, the good Colonel has stated my intended point far more ably than I.

I agree with bira that Ecclestone and Mosely were allies in the creation of the CA ostensibly for the purpose of providing much needed stability to the the commercial and regulatory aspects of F1.

Do we believe that they were visionary enough to have foreseen the evolution towards the present at the creation of the CA? Or was the evolution a series of by-products?

#27 bira

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 04:35

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
Do we believe that they were visionary enough to have foreseen the evolution towards the present at the creation of the CA? Or was the evolution a series of by-products?


Someone recently said that in the 1980s, Bernie Ecclestone was a man of the future; in the 1990s, a man of the present; and now a man of the past.

I think this sums it up nicely :)